Potatoes are great. I mean, packed full of vitamins and minerals, able to be prepared in a variety of ways. Easy to grow, easy to eat. And healthy! You can get all your essential amino acids from a diet of milk and potatoes. I mean, I could go on and talk about the health benefits of the potato, but at the end of the day it’s still a potato and potatoes are kind of boring. Because they are just food. They aren’t hyped up, they aren’t romanticized. If you get sick when you eat potatoes, they aren’t grown in your part of the world, or you plain don’t like them there are plenty of other things you can eat to fulfill your same nutritional needs.
But you know what they aren’t? Magic. And neither is breast milk. It’s food. It’s what babies are supposed to eat. Like adults are supposed to eat potatoes.
I think that breast feeding, in a way, is too over romanticized. There is no rosy mother and baby rocking by the window breastfeeding with a glow surrounding them. At least not at first or without a special lighting crew. There is a mother up at 0’dark thirty trying to latch her gassy, screaming infant and everyone is crying. But that image doesn’t sell boobies, and since there has been a disconnect in how feeding babies is done then maybe, yes, they do need to be sold. It’s certainly a result of the push to get people back to doing it after the lost breastfeeding generation of the 1940’s to 1970’s. Which is all well and good. I’m all for being mammals. Breast feeding and breast milk is how and what babies are supposed to eat, but this push has an unfortunate side effect of people proscribing magic qualities to breast milk and getting all fussy and adamant about it when the support structures are, unfortunately, still catching up to people’s inclinations. Pro-propaganda if you will.
It’s not good for all that ails you, no more than a potato is. It’s not going to solve all your problems, do your taxes and help you find inner peace. It’s just food. It has some perks for vulnerable and developing baby insides, but it’s just human milk. It’s going to start them out how our DNA sets us out to be started, but beyond that is it just food. Like potatoes and carrots and berries. Things we were designed to eat that now have a ‘health-food’ tag affixed to them. These things are only so called ‘healthy’ because it’s what humans are supposed to eat. Like breast milk, there’s no ‘real’ alternative to potatoes either.
What is not just food is a mother’s biological imperative to feed her baby. So when it’s not possible, for whatever reason, to give your baby your milk it’s pretty great that there is something else available. The only thing that ticks me off is using it as a replacement for adequate support. But that’s another post. I hesitate to say that it’s not as good, because I feel that in some cases the need to be fed outweighs the method of feeding. I’ll stick with they aren’t equal, because they aren’t. But you may find one or the other suits your life, your circumstances, your needs, better than the other.
Either way, let’s ditch the romantic rosy image and treat breast milk like potatoes. A normal, slightly boring, part of life.